District announces new high school principal, assistant principal/athletic director and chief business official.

The Molalla River School District has hired three new administrators. All three will join the district in July.

Dr. David Atherton has been named principal of Molalla High School, Pat Davis has been named as the associate principal and athletic director at MHS and Keith McClung will fill the role of chief business official, a position currently held by Rick Gill, who will retire at the end of this school year. Each candidate participated in a comprehensive interview process that included a committee of classroom teachers, specialists, support staff, parents and students and district staff.

"I believe hiring great educators and leaders for our students is the first, most important thing we do," said MRSD Superintendent Tony Mann. "These three individuals are ready to lead and support as our district moves forward for students and community."

Dr. David Atherton, MHS principal

COURTESY PHOTO: MOLALLA RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT - Dr. David Atherton joins Molalla High School as the new principal next month.

Atherton has been serving as the principal at Clear Creek Middle School in Gresham since 2012. Prior to that, he served six years as the assistant principal at Sam Barlow High School. Language Arts was Dr. Atherton's teaching specialty, and he served as a teacher at both Lakeridge and Sisters high schools for seven years. As a school leader, Atherton has amassed numerous awards and grants while serving in the Gresham school district, including the prestigious Verizon/Heart of America Innovation Lab grant and the Amazon Future Engineering Program grant, both in 2021.

"The opportunity to work closely with a staff that is committed to the success of every student and backs that up with graduation rate results was enticing for me. I look forward to working in a smaller district where I can get to know more students and families," Atherton said. "I see myself as the lead learner next year. Joining an established community means I have a lot to learn about the school, stakeholders and community partners. I am looking forward finding out how I can best support students families, and staff as the principal."

Superintendent Mann added that he believes Dr. Atherton will bring a focus on students and a passion for excellence. "Our students, staff and community deserve the very best, and that's the kind of leader I believe we've found in David."

Atherton earned his Doctorate of Education in educational administration from Concordia University. He also holds a master's in professional and technical writing from Portland State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in education and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Portland.

Dr. Atherton grew up in Troutdale, graduated from Reynolds High School and then served in the Army for three years. He enjoys fishing and camping on Oregon rivers and lakes with his two sons and hanging out with their lab, Saba. When he has free time, he enjoys firing up the barbecue, tying flies, reading and road trips to new places.

Pat Davis, MHS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director

COURTESY PHOTO: MOLALLA RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT - Pat Davis will take on the role of MHS assistant principal and athletic director.

Davis joins MRSD from Sweet Home High School, where he served as the Director of Alternative Education. Davis' teaching specialty is social science which he taught at Sweet Home High School for 18 years. Davis has served on countless district and school committees focused on improving student outcomes. Additionally, Davis served as the boys' and girls' varsity golf coach. He has assisted varsity coaches in both basketball and baseball, while assuming head coaching responsibilities of the junior varsity level in both sports.

"After my first interview, I was very impressed with the hiring committee and all of the great things they had to say about the community and the high school. It was after my interview with Superintendent Tony Mann that I was convinced that Molalla River School District was the place for me to be," Davis said. When asked what he is most looking forward to in his new role, Davis said, "Building new relationships with students, staff and members of the Molalla community. The opportunity to meet new people and be a part of the growing culture in a new (for me) community is very motivating and exciting. I can't wait to get started working with the staff and am very much looking forward to becoming a member of the leadership team at Molalla High School."

Mann said: "Mr. Davis is an instructional leader, effective manager of systems and strong relationship builder. As a coach and a teacher-leader, I believe he will bring strengths to our district that are needed to foster the vision we've created for athletics as an important part of our school community."

Davis earned his master's in educational leadership at the University of Oregon, and holds a Bachelor of Science in history from Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Science in education in secondary social studies from the University of Nebraska.

Davis was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Pat and his wife Teresa will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this summer and have three adult children. Davis is a fan of nearly all sports, and he golfs as much as he can. In his free time, Davis and his wife enjoy mountain biking, snow skiing, hiking and are big fans of live music, seeing at least 10 to 15 shows a year.

Keith McClung, Chief Business Official

McClung is a financial professional with over 20 years of experience in multiple industries, including K-12 education, municipality, high-tech and retail. He joins the district from the city of Milwaukie, where he has served as the assistant finance director for the last four years. Prior to that, McClung was the financial services manager for the Salem-Keizer Public School District.

McClung was drawn to the opportunity in Molalla as he grew up in a small community and through his own experiences, he's come to recognize the value that one person can have on a small community.

"I have the desire to give back in a positive and useful way," McClung said. After speaking with Mann and the other staff, he realized he had the chance to join a winning team at MRSD. "I quickly came to the conclusion that MRSD represents a tremendous and challenging opportunity where I can be of service and grow as a leader," McClung said.

When asked what he is most looking forward to in his new role, McClung said: "To continue the strong financial stewardship that Molalla has come to know and expect. I look forward to this challenge and recognize that the financial health of the organization is key."

Mann added: "Keith has talent aligned with our core values. His experience in school district and municipal finance will be important as MRSD remains a sound steward of public financial resources."


You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!